A week ago I decided to get involved more deeply into Python and Google App Engine platform. I was already looking into Python as a generic type language for my system administration needs which arised in the last two months.
I know that all (most of) sys-admins use Perl as it is their old-school tool-language, but I wanted something better with easier and cleaner syntax and flexible enough.
So here came Python and it's brief tutorial. I must say it's fabulous and easy to understand.
I recommend you take a look at it (please read it carefully, there is nothing unnecessary written) and also watch some of the Google I/O talks of the Google Python gurus - Guido van Rossum (Pythons creator) and Alex Martelli.
Painless Python part 1 by Alex Martelli
Painless Python part 2 by Alex Martelli
Google App Engine is a new (to me) scalable platform for building web apps and I must say it's very easy for start. You don't have to think about software tuning, optimization, etc. Except of course the optimization algorithms and hints given from Google on how to build a successful app, which are easy to take in account. After you've become familiar with Python you may want to take a closer look at App Engine and the provided Python APIs.
Yes instead of software and a dedicated server you get an application storage space and a bunch of APIs. Pretty interesting approach for hosting from Google, but I must admit it is very conveninent. That way Google takes care about all software and service tuning, configuration, etc. and as a Developet you only have to ... DEVELOP.
Here are some interesting talks about Google's App Engine:
Python, Django and App Engine by Guido van Rossum
Building Scalable Web Apps with App Engine by Brett Slatkin (Google's App Engine main engineers)
App Engine Datastore Under the Covers by Ryan Barrett (lead App Engine datastore)